Health Care

'Mother Teresa of Pakistan' dies at age 87

'Mother Teresa of Pakistan' dies at age 87”

In his condolence message, Hussain said that Dr Pfau had left her homeland and settled in Pakistan to serve humanity.

Pakistani leaders mourned the August 10 loss of the doctor and religious sister, and praised her contributions in fighting the disfiguring disease that usually leads to the ostracization of its victims.

She studied medicine at universities in Mainz and Marburg before joining the Catholic order of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, the organization that sent her overseas as a missionary. After the war, her family escaped the communist regime in East Germany and moved to West Germany, where Sister Pfau studied medicine.

Like Mother Teresa, the ethnic Albanian nun who became known as "the saint of the gutters" for her service to the destitute of India, Dr. Pfau lived among the people she cared for and by a vow of poverty. Though leprosy is not a life threatening disease but disfiguring of skin and body tissues have health, social and economic consequences and its successful treatment matters much for the patient.

"In a society where people tend to avoid any contact with a leprosy patient it was the Pakistan's Mother Teresa who helped cleaned the deformed patients and provided them decent employment opportunities, a rehabilitated patient of MALC remarked". She founded the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi, Pakistan's first hospital dedicated to treating the disease, which today has 157 branches across the country. Afterwards, she returned to Karachi to organize and expand the Leprosy Control Program. "He must have been my age, I was at this time not yet 30, and he crawled on hands and feet into this dispensary, acting as if this was quite normal, as if someone has to crawl there through that slime and dirt on hands and feet, like a dog". "It was an arranged marriage because it was necessary", she told Lobel. "We will remember her for her courage, her loyalty, her service to the eradication of leprosy, and most of all, her patriotism".

Her work and dedication to humanity is an example for many.

Dr. Ruth Pfau clearly understood that the complex condition of leprosy patients also affected their livelihood; therefore, she purposefully inducted a number of leprosy patients as regular staff member in Marie Adelaide Leprosy Center (MALC). She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988.

With Pfau's help, Pakistan was able to declare leprosy under control in 1996. "We salute her for her memorable services in health sector for the people of Pakistan".

It was only the vision of Dr. Ruth Pfau, who was also the recipient of a number of prestigious national, regional and global awards including Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam, Hilal-Imtiaz, Hilal-e-Pakistan, Ramon Magsaysay Award and BAMBI Award, that made possible the establishment of 157 Leprosy Control Centers from Karachi to Kashmir. In 2002 she won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as Asia's Nobel Prize. She will be laid to rest in a Christian Cemetery, located at Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi.



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